Hello my dears! My name is Johanna, and I welcome you to the Johanna Draconis - The Deconstruction Of C-PTSD podcast.
In this episode we will talk about what I hinted at last time and as requested - we will go more into detail and talk about dismantling these sort of traumas.
We simply call it dismantling for now. The method or tool is - of course - also helpful for any other trauma or situation. It is crucial and can be a game/life changer.
So let us talk about it.
To give a short recap of the last episode: Some traumas seem impossible to process. They seem so different, sometimes even indescribable and despite the effort - there seems no path to take. I then explained that unlike before you have to shape the path yourself.
Which is exactly what we will talk about in this episode. We HAVE to use this method because unlike in all those other times - we can’t just ignore the defense mechanism of the trauma.
Most of the time, even IF we can’t ignore the defense mechanism - at least we can overcome them with time and effort. With these traumas that is not an option. They are a league of their own. But like the Maginot line - we go around.
So we have to dismantle not just the defense mechanism - but the whole trauma. We need to understand the parts it consists of, how they are connected and so on.
So first we will talk about the structure of trauma, then going against the outer defenses and then working towards the core.
The structure of trauma
Now we talked about the base structure before - the shape they have. But that is only the shape of the core of the original trauma. With time that thing grows and grows. Best way to imagine it - in my opinion - is like a stone rolling down a snow slope.
It gets bigger and bigger with each new layer of snow - the little stone can become a house sized snow ball. I am sure you have seen it in comics or animation - if not it can be found easily. It is for me really a perfect symbolization.
Unless you immediately deal with your trauma you will end up with a huge snow ball. Size depending on how much later it is. And we have to now reverse this effect by start by taking out the outer layer. Basically reverting the process to the start.
Sometimes you can skip this and just dive into the ball and take the stone out. But if it is like what we are talking about - then it isn’t just soft snow, but a lot of branches, other stones and so on. So - you have to be careful.
You can visualize the structure of this PTSD by cutting the snow ball in half. The middle - or the core - is the original trauma the PTSD build itself around. The closer to the core - the more compressed and therefor harder the snow is.
Going against the outer defenses
Like I said, we work ourselves back. The first thing we should aim at is therefor not the core - as we can’t reach it at the moment - but the outer defenses. Which usually starts with dealing with the most recent thoughts, events, triggers, etc that happened.
Which should be relatively easy, as they hadn’t the time to harden and drag even more with it. It is key to stay in the moment. For example - It is best not to go “I couldn’t say yes, because I feared the trauma would happen again”. A hard to overcome defense.
Because now you are at the core again, which - at the moment - is out of reach. It is better to say “I couldn’t say yes, because I was worried” and then trying to empathize with yourself. Reflect, forgive, improve or whatever is needed to take care of it.
The “why” questions remains useful - as is answering with emotions - not with facts. This way you process and resolve what happened. Step by step - as usual. It will be faster with each time.
You can also use this method to keep an active trauma in check, but for now we focus to use it to work yourself to the core.
Working towards the core - don’t be negligent
While working towards the core the biggest enemy you face is patience. You see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you are not careful and pace yourself, then that light is a train. It is very wise to take a short break between each point.
The more you move the harder it will get. Because the simple things of the outer layers can easily be washed away, but what is buried below is usually the kind of thing that isn’t easily put aside. And the longer we go back - the more likely it is to be hard.
But since we work ourselves from the more simpler parts to the harder ones - we are able to learn and improve and increase our skill in dealing with these things. Once the brain learned something after all, it usually remembers it and can apply it itself often.
This method has 2 advantages for that reason: 1. The whole topic shrinks in size and becomes less imposing and impossible - and 2. you learn the skills and tools and you are better prepared for other traumas or future traumas.
This is how you dismantle a difficult trauma. Difficult trauma cores are usually a topic of itself and depending on the trauma topic. So if you want to cover any particular ones - please let me know.
That was it for todays episode, I hope you found it helpful. Hope you are safe and well. And as always, if you have any questions or feedback and the like, please let me know at email@example.com.
More information and transcript you can find as usually under johannadraconis.com/podcast/ and links are in the description.
I hope to see you next time. Watch yourselves and have a wonderful time.